Congress to hear findings of global safety inquiry

By Hamish Mackay

The first results of a global inquiry into journalists’ safety are
to be published at the International Press Institute’s annual congress
in Edinburgh next May.

The 700 delegates will be told the results of a worldwide report
being conducted by the International News Safety Institute, for which
hearings have been held in Kuala Lumpur, Doha and London, and to learn
of the increasing risks to journalists in war zones.

Richard
Tait, former editor-in-chief of ITN and now a BBC governor, emphasises
that the dangers facing reporters are growing more acute.

“I
think it’s a sign of the changing priorities that journalists’ safety
is going to be one of the major sessions at a big international media
conference like the IPI. Five or 10 years ago, that wouldn’t have been
the case.”

Tait, who is organising the congress, is professor of
journalism and director of the centre for journalism studies at Cardiff
University. He said May 2000 was a turning point for senior editors,
when two highly experienced war correspondents, APTN cameraman Miguel
Gil Moreno and Reuters reporter Kurt Schork, were killed in Sierra
Leone in an ambush. “I think that was a moment of truth for the
industry, that people began to think if journalists as experienced and
careful, well-trained and well-supported as them could end up dead, it
can happen to anybody,” explained Tait. “It’s about the environment
getting dangerous – not about people taking risks.”

The risks were highlighted again in March 2003 when ITN journalist Terry Lloyd was killed while reporting in Iraq.

On
the global safety inquiry, Tait said: “What we hope to get out of all
of that, together with the research we are doing, is the first truly
comprehensive analysis of why journalists have been killed, what were
the circumstances, what lessons could be learnt and what happened
afterwards.”

The IPI was set up in 1950 when 34 editors from 15
countries decided to form an organisation dedicated to the promotion
and protection of press freedom. It now has more than 2,000 members in
120 countries.

BBC Scotland is the main sponsor of the Edinburgh Congress, which runs from 27-30 May.

Other
supporters include The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph, Reuters, The
Guardian Media Group, RTÉ, Newsquest, Channel 4, Daily Mail, Johnston
Press, The Independent and The Times.

News media death toll in Iraq reaches

80 KILLINGS THREATEN HOPES OF A NEW DEMOCRACY

The murder of US freelance journalist Steven Vincent last week takes the total news media death toll in the Iraq war to 80.

Journalists and other newsgathering staff from 16 countries have
died since the war began in March 2003 – almost three a month –
according to figures compiled by the International News Safety
Institute (INSI). By comparison, the Vietnam war claimed the lives of
about 70 journalists over 20 years.

The vast majority of the dead are Iraqi. Fifty-six have been killed trying to report in their country.

“Every single civilian death in this war is to be mourned, but a free press is critical for a free and fearless society.

“Hopes
of a new democracy rising from the ashes of post-Saddam Iraq are being
buried alongside these brave reporters,” said INSI director Rodney
Pinder.

Forty-nine of the dead journalists – almost two-thirds of the total – were murdered by insurgents.

Thirteen were killed by US troops and seven died during gun battles.

Two
were killed by Iraqi forces before the fall of Saddam Hussein and one
was believed to have been shot by Iraqi troops working with the US-led
coalition. Eight died in accidents or from health problems.

Vincent
was kidnapped in Basra by at least two men wearing police uniform and
driving a police car, witnesses said. He was dumped in the street after
being shot three times.

His Iraqi interpreter was wounded.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ten − 1 =

CLOSE
CLOSE